Video captures panic after Southwest flight strikes birds, fills with smoke

Click to play video: 'Southwest Airlines flight makes emergency landing in Cuba after bird strike'
Southwest Airlines flight makes emergency landing in Cuba after bird strike
A Southwest Airlines flight from Cuba to Florida was forced to turn back to Havana for an emergency landing Sunday after hitting birds and suffering engine trouble in an incident that saw the cabin fill up with smoke, according to airline and Cuban officials. – Mar 6, 2023

A Southwest Airlines flight heading to Florida was forced to turn around and make an emergency landing after the Boeing 737 plane struck a group of birds. Video from inside the cabin showed a chaotic scene as the plane filled with smoke following the bird strikes.

Shortly after taking off from Havana, Cuba on Sunday morning, Southwest Airlines Flight 3923 “experienced bird strikes to an engine and the aircraft’s nose,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

The flight was heading to Fort Lauderdale and was carrying 147 passengers and six staff members.

After colliding with the birds, the pilots of the Southwest flight detected an issue with one of the plane’s engines, Cuba’s civil aviation authority said, a fact that became evident to the flight’s passengers after the cabin filled with smoke.

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Eyewitness and video accounts from inside the plane show passengers coughing and panicking as the plane’s cabin filled with hazy, grey smoke.

Nobody could breathe. It was burning so much in the lungs,” said one passenger, Marco Antonio, on NBC’s Early Today show. “People were just screaming. Kids were screaming.”

Southwest confirmed that the plane was able to safely land in Havana after the incident.

“The pilots safely returned to Havana where customers evacuated the aircraft via slides due to smoke in the cabin,” Southwest said.

Cuba’s civil aviation authority said the plane’s passengers were all in good condition despite the accident. The agency is investigating the incident.

The passengers who were bound for Fort Lauderdale were bussed to an airport terminal and accommodated on a different flight.

“We apologize to our Customers for the inconvenience and have reached out to address their needs and offer support,” the airline spokesperson said.

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